ANAM in parliament

November 11, 2008 § Leave a comment


Motion and Debate on ANAM Victorian Parliament

12th November 2008

Mr D. DAVIS (Southern Metropolitan) I move:

That this house expresses its concern at the unilateral decision by the Prime Minister of Australia and the federal arts minister to close the Australian National Academy of Music and —

(1) notes the intellectual reputation and importance of this Victorian and Australian centre for the education and development of talented musicians of the highest quality;

(2) believes this decision by the federal arts minister sends the wrong signal to young Victorian and Australian artists about the importance of striving for excellence;


(3) affirms the importance of the Australian National Academy of Music as an Australian cultural institution in developing talented young Australians of international standard in Australia;

(4) calls on the Rudd government to restore the funding in full; and

(5) further calls on the Premier to publicly defend this highly regarded Australian institution and its fully funded presence in Victoria.

Federal Parliament


Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Ms MARINO (Forrest

On one hand the government is providing funding
and on the other it is taking it away. A recent unsus-
pecting victim is the Australian National Academy of
Music, which will lose $2.5 million. The Minister for
the Environment, Heritage and the Arts has hit a real
discord with the Australian music industry, axing the
academy’s entire funding from 1 January 2009. It faces
closure at the end of the year, with less than two
months notice. I would dearly like to know where the
54 students enrolled for next year, who had their places
confirmed three months ago, will go in 2009, given
that applications and auditions for other institutes are
underway and many are already closed. One would
consider that complete stripping of funds would first be
negotiated with the academy. Instead, we see Mr
Garrett taking his money and going home. I would like
to know who is the real patron of the arts, because the
only patron at work here is the patron for cut and run.
Mr Garrett recently stated that the academy is not
the most effective or efficient model to support elite
musicians. Mr Garrett has not only questioned the
reputation of the Australian National Academy of Mu-
sic, which has been working hard to develop since its
inception over 10 years ago, but not even put funds
into effective and efficient use, to use his own words.
Our best and brightest musicians should not be forced
overseas. Can you imagine the outcry if our elite ath-
letes had to go overseas to further their skills? I put our
best musicians in a similar category to those athletes.
Whether they are future stars on the field or on the
stage, both deserve to have the opportunity to attend
Australian institutes where they can reach their full
In my electorate of Forrest, we have a flourishing
music scene, with original bands climbing over each
other to get gigs. We also have the annual Western
Australian Performing Arts Eisteddfod in the City of
Bunbury, the biggest in Australia, hosting a record
2,200 participants this year in its 50th anniversary, and
strong representation from the south-west region in
professional settings across Australia. I am most con-
cerned that the government is taking a decisive step
backwards in this field, and I deplore such contempt
for our Australian musicians. Cutting funding from an
academy that was hastening to implement reforms with
just over two months notice is not only abandoning the
54 applicants for 2009 but a massive step backwards
for Australian music in general. When $10.4 billion can
be found to support the Australian economy, surely
$2.5 million can be found to support Australia’s best
classical musicians. I call on the government to reveal
its plans for the future of the ANAM.

Below is a Hansard transcript from Parliament November 10, 2008

page 93

Australian National Academy of Music
Mr JOHNSON (Ryan) (9.44 pm)—The 22nd of
October 2008 will be remembered by all musicians in
Australia, and certainly by all musicians in the Ryan
electorate, as a black day in the history of classical mu-
sic in our country. Why is that? It is because the Rudd
government, and Minister Garrett in particular, have
decided to axe some $2.5 million of funding for the
Australian National Academy of Music. This is an ab-
solute disgrace, and I want to highlight it here in the
parliament because in the Ryan electorate I have been
contacted by many musicians and, indeed, by other
constituents who have found this decision completely
I want to remind the people of Ryan about the Na-
tional Academy of Music. It holds a unique place in
our country. The Australian National Academy of Mu-
sic is a very special institution for training Australia’s
finest classical musicians. With an emphasis on the
individual growth through tailored programs, the acad-
emy is committed to supporting talented musicians in
refining and strengthening their individual musical
voice, thereby empowering them to address the excit-
ing challenges and possibilities of a life in music in the
21st century.
I would say that, of all members of parliament, the
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts in
particular, with his background, ought to be batting for
the musicians of Australia, especially those young mu-
sicians who have an opportunity to develop their tal-
ents. Yet his role in this parliament and his role in this
saga is a very sad one indeed. The statement by the
Australian National Academy of Music sets out its ver-
sion—and I think it sets the record straight—of the
regrettable saga of a lack of communication, exchange
and consultation and of what is very much an imposi-
tion of a unilateral decision by the minister in cutting
this funding.
I want to remind anyone who might have a love for
and an appreciation of music to go to the website of the
Australian National Academy of Music and see its re-
cord and its version of how the exchange has taken
place. Let us pause for the moment and note the sig-
nificant eight board members of the academy, because
these members are no fools. They are very distin-
guished Australians with business records, with com-
munity service and with expertise in the industry. They
are people who give their time to make a contribution
to a very important institution, yet this axing of some
$2.5 million is going to end the rich history of the Na-
tional Academy of Music.
If the government took some time to go to the site
and to go to the Facebook site, they would see that
there are several thousands of Australians, just today,
who have expressed their absolute contempt for the
decision of Minister Garrett. I have a sneaking suspi-
cion that if the Labor government and Mr Garrett in
particular had any support from them, they will now
not be receiving a Christmas card from those thousands
of people—in fact, it is almost approaching tens of
thousands. I know that the wiser heads in the Rudd
government will realise that tens of thousands of very
angry musicians might not come out in the streets, take
their clothes off and protest in contempt of a govern-
ment decision. But, rest assured, they will express their
views in a very significant and profound way come the
next election. Several hundred people alone who have
contacted me in the last couple of days with their very
deep concern and deep anxiety over this decision will
make it very well known in the Ryan electorate how
they feel about Minister Garrett.
In response to the letter of 27 October 2008 advising
the academy that it would no longer be in receipt of the
$2.5 million of taxpayers’ money supporting a great
institution, the academy said:
As widely reported, this letter came as a shock to the Acad-
emy …
I am no star musician, but I appreciate music. And, as
someone who tries to give opportunities to young Aus-
tralians to develop their talents, I want to express on
the record on behalf of the Ryan electorate how terribly
disappointed I am. In less than one year, the true col-
ours of the Rudd government really are coming to the
These young Australians deserve support. It is not a
lot of money. The government can find money for the
Essendon Football Club. I have no qualms about Es-
sendon Football Club receiving, I think, some $1½
million. I know a lot of people like football, but why
can the $2.5 million not be continued? I am dis-
mayed—(Time expired)



Notices given for Wednesday, 12 November 2008

*5   MR CIOBO: To move—That the House:

(1) condemns the Rudd Labor Government for abandoning Australia’s best and brightest musicians by axing funding for the Australian National Academy of Music ( ANAM » ), forcing it to close at the conclusion of 2008;

(2) notes that the Rudd Labor Government has forced the « ANAM » to close, without offering any alternative training program for Australia’s elite classical musicians; and

(3) acknowledges that this decision will leave the 55 Australian musicians who were enrolled to study at « ANAM in 2009 with nowhere to go. ( Notice given 11 November 2008. )

Time allotted—remaining private Members’ business time
prior to 8.30 pm
Speech time limits—
Mr Ciobo—5 minutes.
First Government Member speaking—5 minutes.
Other Member—5 minutes each.
[Minimum number of proposed Members speaking = 5 x 5
The Whips recommended that consideration of this matter
should continue on a future day.

Question agreed to.
Senator RONALDSON (Victoria) (3.44 pm)—I,
and also on behalf of Senator Milne, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes the importance of the Australian National
Academy of Music as a unique institution for the cul-
tivation of Australia’s finest classical musicians;
(b) deplores statements by the Minister for the Environ-
ment, Heritage and the Arts (Mr Garrett) casting as-
persions on the efficiency and effectiveness of the
academy; and
(c) calls on the Government immediately to reinstate
Commonwealth funding to the Australian National
Academy of Music for the 2008-09 financial year in
the amount of $2 545 000, as originally promised by
the Rudd Government.
I seek leave to make a short statement.
Leave granted.
Senator RONALDSON—On behalf of Senators
Kroger and Brandis—who I know were very anxious
to talk on this matter but, because of time constraints,
have not done so—I record their very strong support
for this motion.
Senator LUDWIG (Queensland—Minister for
Human Services) (3.45 pm)—I seek leave to make a
short statement in relation to the motion.
Leave granted.
Senator LUDWIG—The Australian government
remains committed to the provision of elite level clas-
sical music training in Australia. On Friday, 31 October
the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts
met with a number of representatives from the sector,
including a delegation of ANAM students, and reiter-
ated the government’s determination to provide ongo-
ing funding for our talented musicians. The govern-
ment believes that the funding previously provided to
ANAM could be spent more effectively to deliver sup-
port for emerging classical musicians. The government
is now investigating possible models for the most ef-
fective delivery of elite level classical music training in
Australia and expects to announce an alternative
shortly which will ensure continuity for students and
provide a stable, long-term program for music training.


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